The first time I heard the word Handicraft, I had one of those "Uhhh....what?" moments. A Handicraft is defined as an art, craft or trade in which the skilled use of one's hand is required. Handicrafts are typically part of a Charlotte Mason education. They teach the child to work diligently and carefully, to learn to follow a sequence and in the end they have something useful they can display, gift or even sell.
Great. Other than scrapbooking, I have no artsy/crafty skills or talents to pass on. I don't sew, knit, quilt, or do needlepoint. Not for lack of exposure, mind you. I remember my mom making us Halloween costumes. My grandmother tried to teach me to sew. My stepmom tried to teach me cross stitching and latch hooking. I just preferred to keep my nose stuck in a book!
So now I am trying to be more diligent about including Handicrafts in our homeschooling. I don't need the kids feeling like they have no handicraft skills. Who says I have to be the one to teach them, right? I've gone over Ambleside Online: Handicrafts and Simply Charlotte Mason's Handicrafts and Lifeskills to come up with some ideas for introducing Handicrafts into our home.
Right now we're exploring woodworking at the express interest of the 6 year old. He wanted to learn "to build things" and "use tools" so this seemed like a good place to start. Husband and I figured this is something that is fun for boys, and knowledge of tools is a useful skill for anyone to have. We are starting very basic by allowing the boys to help around the house (like when he helped turn his swing set From Ruined to Like New) and by going to the free Home Depot Kid's Workshops. Husband has taken them two months in a row for a fun Father-Son outing. The little wooden kits are simple, but it gives them exposure to tools and tool safety, and they get the accomplishment of building something tangible and useful. We have enjoyed using these bird feeders to enhance our nature study!
Elliott also saw a large wooden dollhouse kit that he wants to make for his sister's first birthday! Isn't that sweet? He has such a giving spirit!
I vaguely remember "helping" in my grandmother's garden, but that's the extent of my gardening experience. It couldn't hurt for me to learn some basic gardening skills along with the kids, right?
The kids planted basil, which I do use in our cooking. I hope they get some sprouts, at least. The Husband also recently picked up two "indoor greenhouse" kits for the boys, one with red & yellow peppers, and one with two more herbs. They also have a root viewer that I think will be more of a novelty, but we're going it give it all a shot. Husband was raised in the family garden, so the boys do have hope. It'll be interesting, that's for sure. I think we'll make it into a nature study unit by reading Seed-Babies.
Another area where I have no marketable skills. By now, you're probably wondering if I can do anything. No, I don't bake well either. Moving on.
Although we're going to continue Art instruction as its own subject, I do think there is some overlap between Art and Handicrafts. We are going to continue to explore ARTistic Pursuits, which we reviewed not too long ago. His favorite independent pursuit is to draw Star Wars characters, but I think he will be particularly interested in clay as well.
Then I'm not sure what we will add for this fall/winter. I've read that many young boys like soap carving, so I thought that would be a good indoor activity.
What Handicrafts do your kids enjoy? Do you have any specific suggestions for 6/7 year old boys?
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